Awarded Energy Scout projects in the Czech Republic: an increasingly broad look at saving energy and resources

The best Energy Scout practical projects were awarded on October 17 at the Czech-German Chamber of Industry and Commerce (DTIHK) as part of the sixth edition of Young Energy Europe. A total of 23 successful graduates from 7 companies developed 9 energy-saving projects. The winning team from Vitesco Technologies Czech Republic s.r.o. proposed to reduce the logistical effort and replace the external cleaning of the packaging used in the company with an internal ion cleaning process.

The sixth year of the course was launched by DTIHK in April this year. The course was realized in person and the participants received new information during specialized excursions in addition to the actual lectures of the qualification. They visited the Ško-Energo company, the water treatment plant in Podolí or the low-energy building of the Open Garden in Brno, for instance.

Before developing their own practical projects, the participants learned more about topics such as climate protection, energy for companies, technical measures to save energy and resource efficiency. To facilitate the development and implementation of the practical projects, the course also included blocks on soft skills such as project management and presentation techniques.

On 17th of October 2023, the Energy Scout Team from Vitesco Technologies Czech Republic s.r.o. was awarded the prize for the best practical project. At Vitesco Technologies Czech Republic s.r.o. there are specialized departments that are responsible for conventional energy-saving solutions. Energy Scouts Petra Staňková, Zbyněk Čada, Vojtěch Harapát and Tomáš Fučík therefore tried to find a new, additional idea for their practical project. They chose the field of cleaning packaging materials from clean production, which the company uses internally. These packaging materials are currently washed by an external company that uses water and detergents for cleaning. In their practical project, the Scouts suggested replacing this washing with internal ion cleaning. “We had several meetings with our energy management and together we looked for opportunities for savings or changes. This project combined several aspects that led to savings at the same time,” says Energy Scout Tomáš Fučík. This innovative process saves electricity, water, cleaning agents and transport. At the same time, the stock of the packaging in question can be reduced by around half of the former amount. The investment will pay off in just one year thanks to the savings in external washing costs, and the CO2 savings have been calculated at almost 2,000 tonnes per year. The project has been approved for implementation, which is expected to be completed in the third quarter of 2024. “This project is now being well received by everyone,” says Petra Staňková. Team colleague Zbyněk Čada adds: “Initially, I didn’t expect the realization of the project as realistic. It’s great that the company has supported the project.”

Second place went to the teams that both combined a special aspect: they developed pilot projects that can also be used for other locations and properties. In both cases, the focus was on the efficient use of resources, particularly electricity, at the company’s own headquarters.

Mr Štěpán Vizina from Moravskoslezské Investice a Development, a.s.  (MSID, eng. Moravian-Silesian Agency for Regional Development) identified the potential of public administration. He listed possible measures to improve resource management. His measures cover both public administration sites and day-to-day operations and are linked to indirect measures such as training and education opportunities. During his project presentation he went into detail on three measures for the MSID headquarters, namely the use of heat pumps for heating and cooling, the construction of a PV system and the replacement of lighting. “There is great potential for change in the public sector, but the public sector needs to get interested to look into it, so we started with ourselves,” explained Štěpán Vizina during his project presentation.

The second team in the “silver rank” was the team of Viktor Vajc, Lea Jadrníčková and Olexandr Abramov from Bilfinger Tebodin Czech Republic, s.r.o. This team developed six energy-saving measures for the company’s headquarters, an office building in Prague’s Karlín district. “As part of the project, we created a CO2 roadmap for our office space in the office building in Karlín, Prague. The aim was to find feasible energy-saving measures in the roadmap,” emphasized Viktor Vajc during the presentation of their practical project. The scouts proposed a system of simple technical and organizational changes with low investment and a total payback period of less than half a year! They calculated that the implementation of these measures alone could save around 25% of the company’s emissions from electricity, heat and water consumption.

The third place received the team from Škoda Auto a.s., consisting of Renata Bittnerová, Petr Dočekal, Tomáš Kaulfus and Viliam Kolesár. They proposed a practical solution to improve the utilization of metal “waste” from production. After identifying suitable parts – steel sheet cuttings – they proposed a system that would enable the use of this material in a “re-use” mode instead of the current simple recycling. Following an assessment of the current situation, up to 500 tonnes of metal waste that is currently recycled in the foundry could be put to direct material use. “We plan to start the project in October,” said Viliam Kolesár. He pointed out that there is also the possibility of extending the project to other companies in the Group.

Representatives of the Ministry of Environment of the Czech Republic and the main project partner Škoda Auto a.s. also took part in the award ceremony. “The Ministry of the Environment considers the Young Energy Europe program as an excellent tool for strengthening the knowledge of professionals from private companies in the field of sustainable energy and climate protection. Thanks to the program, around 30 new experts are trained every year, who put their knowledge directly into practice, for example in the field of energy saving. The subsequent implementation of the proposed energy-saving measures not only benefits the participants, but also the companies directly,” says Pavel Zámyslický, Deputy Head of the Climate Protection Section and Director of the Energy and Climate Protection Department of the Ministry of the Environment of the Czech Republic.

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